Cornwall Council has completed a landmark multi-million-pound deal to buy 130 homes at West Carclaze Garden Village on the outskirts of St Austell, as part of its work to tackle the housing crisis.
The deal with developers Eco-Bos is the largest acquisition the authority has made to date for its new ‘council housing’ development programme, which was set up in 2019 following the lifting of borrowing restrictions by the Government.
Once completed, the homes will be available for social rent and affordable rent to local households in need.
Shared ownership homes will also be available, helping people to take a first step on the housing ladder.
Crucially, 100 of the 130 homes would have been open market homes. The deal will see these converted to additional affordable housing using Council funding, meaning that the site will now deliver significantly more than the original 35 per cent affordable housing required through the planning process.
Olly Monk, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Housing and Planning, said: “This deal represents nearly two years of work by officers from our dedicated in-house Delivery Team and our partners at Eco-Bos.
“This Council has committed to ending the housing crisis in Cornwall, and commercial acquisitions of low carbon homes like this, in sustainable locations, shows our commitment to doing whatever is necessary to provide homes that people in our communities can afford – without having a detrimental effect on the environment.
“We want to buy many more homes like these – thus taking them off the open market and making them available to local people who need them – and we are working with partners across the housing market to achieve that.
“I also offer my thanks to the previous administration and Lord Taylor of Goss Moor for their assistance over the years in bringing this site forward.”
The homes are due to be handed over to the Council over the next three to four years, with the first expected in the coming months.
They will feature air-source heat pumps and solar panels, saving an average of 4.6 tonnes of carbon a year, using just 32 per cent of the energy of an average house.
The investment helps to ensure a balanced and sustainable community, providing access to genuinely affordable housing to local households in the years to come.
Maher Maksoud, CEO of Eco-Bos, said: “We are delighted to announce this sale of homes to Cornwall Council, which has been a close collaborator and supporter of West Carclaze Garden Village (WCGV) at all stages of its conception and development.
“As our first UK project, we are making every effort to make WCGV a model project inspired by the aspirational life-enriching design principles of Garden Villages and net carbon neutral development to do our part for the environment and future generations, and, last but not least, making all this surprisingly affordable to the average family.
“Cornwall Council’s purchase is a great vote of confidence in the project and a further encouragement for us to make it a national showcase.”
Julian German, who was Cabinet lead for the project from 2009 until earlier this year, said: “For more than a decade we have been working together to bring forward the infrastructure for this development; new travel options, new workspace, a new school under construction.
“Only now are houses being delivered. This is an exemplar development doing what people tell us should happen, putting the infrastructure in first. I am delighted that Cornwall Council has secured affordable properties here for Cornish people.”
Lord Taylor of Goss Moor, who is chair of the WCGV board, said: “This announcement marks a breakthrough moment for West Carclaze Garden Village, as homes are now being delivered as promised to meet local needs, alongside the new school and, soon, the village centre.
“The transformation of derelict China clay works to a new 21st Century community, meeting local housing needs in a spectacular environment and the highest standards of sustainability, is a huge effort.
“My thanks go to Eco-Bos, Cornwall Council and Homes England for working so well together to deliver the vision as promised.”
In June the council announced its plans to tackle both the immediate issues around housing and the longer-term problems.
A range of initiatives are already in action, from the provision of more emergency accommodation at New County Hall in Truro and Rosewarne Car Park in Camborne, to the purchase and refurbishment of disused properties around Cornwall, development of a landmark modular homes scheme near Pool and a significant ramp-up of the new ‘council housing’ programme, including a new site on the edge of Padstow.
Story posted on November 10, 2021